|dc.description.abstract||For Kathy Acker sexism exists in all aspects of women's life. This stems for Acker and others from a fear of sex and sexuality, especially women's sexual expression. Acker claims that it was a brave and positive move when women started to produce their own pornographic material. Acker provides a position about pornography that is one of the various 'voices' that are part of the debate around pornography. The issue of sexually explicit material and access to such images continues to be discussed politically, legally and theoretically. I intend to discuss the major issues surrounding the pornography debate, while comparing this with actual video material. I will show that pornography can provide positive illustrations of women's sexual expression, and that this imagery is valuable to a developing sexual consciousness for women. I also feel that such positive images have an important contribution to the way we frame and teach sexuality education to young adults. It is possible to use these images as an example of sexual expression for young women which provides empowerment and context for exploration about female desire and sexuality.
Within New Zealand there has been a resurgence of the debate about the appropriateness of censorship in relation to pornographic material, especially in reference to material located on the Internet. One of the underlying facets of the debate is how male sexuality and patriarchy relate to pornography. Feminists involved in the debate have tried to theorise the way in which pornography impacts on the construction of women and their sexuality, and on sexual expression in general. Within the last decade there has been an expansion in erotica and sexually explicit visual material directed at women. More recently there has been a increase of lesbian produced and/or targeted pornography. This latter fact throws into question many of the previous assumptions and criticisms of pornography and sexually explicit material. Can sexually explicit material be produced in a way that represents positive sexuality for women? Could such material be utilised to impact positively on young women's lives. Does the occurrence of women targeted pornography invalidate previous criticisms in relation to sex and sexual difference between men and women. In addition does occurrence of lesbian and female targeted pornography also subvert the previous conceptions of pornography.
On addressing these questions I will argue that lesbian pornography can be viewed as a site for exploration of lesbian sexuality and that this in turn has implications for the construction and expression of women's sexuality. A lesbian perspective offers a unique look at sexuality that is conceivably 'least' affected by patriarchy and by current socially defined sexual practice and expression. I believe this perspective offers a more accurate view of women's wants, desires and needs in sexual encounters. Using this analysis I intend to address the issue of sex education and how we can acknowledge and represent women's sexual experience. The implication is that if women define for themselves a 'sexual reality', then they will no longer be subject to the patriarchal constructions that bind them and help maintain the status quo. Only when women are empowered can they begin to impact on the subjugation of their lived experience. To argue this I must address certain factors involved with the debate of women, gender and sexuality. These issues include the history of the pornography debate, feminist analysis of gender and sexuality, political factors within feminism, lesbian history and critiques, identity politics and representation theory.
This will lead to an analysis of currently available pornography. I will attempt to show that these images have not been previously encountered in mainstream pornography. I will refer to that material that is targeted to a lesbian audience as 'lesbian pornography'. In my final discussion I will look at the way that this can be viewed as aspects of women's sexuality and what this means for sexuality and sex education.
Feminist theory has attempted to address gender inequities within patriarchy. This has been presented as an analysis of gender relations that include the way that men and women relate, the underlying social influences, and the nature of the difference between men and women sexually. Inclusive within the discussions on sexuality has been the analysis and discussion about sexually explicit material.
The debate surrounding pornography has hinged on the fact that historically pornography was created by men for men, and thus was based on male conceptions about desirable sexual encounters for men. What can this mean in the light of female produced erotica and lesbian pornography? At the very least, this female/lesbian type of material questions the current societal assumptions of roles, visibility, diversity of sexual practice, intimacy and desirable sexual encounters for women. Previous arguments have stated that male produced pornography uses lesbian scenes within heterosexual pornography and that lesbian pornography is just a mirror of the established genus. I shall argue that this is not the case, and that lesbian pornography provides women with a 'safe site' in which to establish female sexuality in a way not previously explored or available to women. This site should be viewed as a positive action for women and indeed a significant advance for theory and practice of sexuality in women's lives. [extract from Introduction]||